Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors


July 8, 2013 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu, bergen.

Charles Wayne O'Shea, 35, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. O'Shea was arrested twice for alleged drunken driving within a four-hour period. The second arrest came after a traffic stop at 8:36 p.m. Saturday on Route 19, Le Roy, by Deputy Chad Minuto. Minuto said he observed O'Shea driving and knew from being involved with a prior arrest of O'Shea that O'Shea allegedly did not have a valid driver's license, so he initiated a traffic stop. Upon further investigation, Minuto concluded O'Shea was allegedly driving while intoxicated. Four hours earlier, according to Minuto's report, Minuto assisted Deputy James Diehl while Diehl arrested O'Shea for allegedly driving drunk.

Selime Bela, 49, of Crimson Drive, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Bela is accused of shoplifting $67.49 in merchandise from Kmart.

Brandon Marshall Weig, 25, of Buffalo Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd (physical contact). The alleged incident was reported at 1:02 a.m., Friday. No further details released. Weig was also arrested on a bench warrant for alleged criminal contempt, 2nd, and disobeying a mandate.

Michael T. Dibble, 21, of Corfu, is charged with DWI. Dibble was arrested by State Police at Erie County Medical Center for allegedly driving drunk in the Town of Pembroke at 4:19 p.m., Wednesday. No further details released.

Jeremy M. Sheehan, 30, of Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sheehan was arrested by State Police following an alleged incident reported at 1:49 a.m. Thursday in the Town of Le Roy. No further details were released.

July 7, 2013 - 2:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A fire alarm sounded at the Clarion Hotel about 20 minutes ago and the Town of Batavia Fire Department responded. There was no conflagration, but firefighters checked the floors of the facility to determine why the alarm went off.

The strong odor of cigarette smoke was coming from one room, but no alarms tripped on that floor. Higher up in the hotel, they found the problem spot -- "Hairspray in the Executive Suite" was the likely culprit said the captain.

This communication was received by a dispatcher and reinterated: Cause for the alarm was "executive hairspray."

July 6, 2013 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, agriculture, byron.

I took a break from the Ramble this afternoon to go out to Ted and Patricia Hawley's barley field in Byron to get some pictures of the harvest.

The Hawleys are opening a malt house -- the first in New York in about 100 years -- and this barley will be used to create malt that can be used by microbreweries throughout the state.

All the rain we've had in the past week have made the harvest a challenge. The grain has to reach a search moisture level -- not too moist -- to be harvested. But in waiting for it to dry out there's a chance the grain could pre-germinate on the stock, which would affect the malting process.

This grain will need to be dried a bit before being stored in a bin because it's a just a bit too moist.

Above is barley grain that has been separated by the combine from the straw. The cut straw is left on the field and will be collected later. It can be used for a feed supplement, for mulch or -- according to Hawley -- dropped in ponds to purify the water. Hawley said it is very effective at cleaning pond water and the Hawleys may eventually try selling some of it for such a use.

Kevin Scroger gave me my first ride in the cab of a combine. Scroger has been operating combines since he was 14 years old. Back then, cabs weren't air conditioned. There weren't even cabs and Scroger said the combines were smaller and harvested fewer acres per hour. Not only are today's cabs air conditioned, they can be driven over a pre-defined route by a GPS system.

July 6, 2013 - 11:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, entertainment, Ramble Music & Arts Fest.

The 2013 Ramble Music and Arts Fest was again a success with hundreds of music fans enjoying performances by three dozen bands.

Several bands put in great performances and one of the most impressive was from a band called Verse (top photo and third photo).

Bill Kauffman (second photo) opened the event with these remarks:

What is Batavia? It’s Centennial Park in the autumn, all red and orange and melancholy. It’s Dwyer Stadium as the sun sets behind the left-field wall. It’s gamblers watching the longshot they bet on at Batavia Downs come in dead last, as it always—almost—does. It’s three on three basketball at Williams Park, or the Little Leaguer in right field at MacArthur Park praying “please don’t hit it to me.” It’s the St. Joe’s lawn fete. It’s Adam Miller’s. It’s beef on weck at the Pok-a-Dot. It’s 20-year-olds talking and laughing through the night in a corner booth at Sport of Kings. It’s reading about old classmates in the police blotter. Then in the obituaries. It’s drinking and dancing in Jackson Square. It’s Billy Walker walking down Main Street. It’s Wayne Fuller’s voice. It’s Bill McDonald with his guitar.

And it is the Ramble. Now in its eighth year, this annual gathering of musicians and people who love music has become a part of the score of Batavia. We have such a rich and varied musical history in this city, this county. We have the oldest community orchestra in the country. We were the Motown of the accordion. We’ve had thriving garage rock and folk music scenes. We’ve had, and have, alternative and heavy metal and country and rap musicians and bands, as well as gospel singers and crooners of the standards. We have church choirs and we have kids banging away at thrash and metal music in their basements. Discordant and harmonious…peaceful and angry…traditional and twisted…It’s the soundtrack of Batavia.

And so I give you…the 2013 Ramble.

To purchase prints of any of these photos, click here.

July 6, 2013 - 7:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, animal abuse.

Two dogs are locked inside a Cadillac Escalade in front of the Peking Buffet at 8222 Lewiston Road in the Town of Batavia, which is in the same plaza as BJ's Wholesale Club. A caller is concerned for the canines' welfare and a Sheriff's deputy is responding.

July 6, 2013 - 8:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Bob Evans.

Bob Evans Restaurant, 196 Oak St., Batavia, will be closed from July 7-14 for a remodel that will update the interior and exterior appearance, according to Assistant General Manager Jonathan Allen.

The restaurant will add a bakery section as part of the project.

July 6, 2013 - 12:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Irish folk band Penny Whiskey, always a crowd favorite, opened the Jackson Square concert season Friday with two hours of Celtic rhythms and melodies. The square was pretty jam-packed with local music fans for the show.

Penny Whiskey is: Kirk McWhorter, Jon Carlson (top photo), Dan Lelito, Paul Kneis (second photo).

The Ramble Music and Arts Fest starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

Natalie Muscarella uses mom's camera to get some pictures of the band.

Officers Mark Lawrence and Eric Dibble next to the mural portrait of a Batavia police officer in Jackson Square.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

July 6, 2013 - 12:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A tow truck is reportedly on fire in front of 182 Oak St., Batavia.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 12:24 a.m.: After Ladder 15 reported on scene, I've not heard anymore on this call.

July 5, 2013 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is currently investigating several recent burglaries to unsecured garages/sheds. The Batavia Police Department would like to remind citizens to secure any and all of their property when it is not attended. If anyone has any information regarding the recent burglaries, please contact the department at (585) 345-6350.

July 5, 2013 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Penny Whiskey kicks off a new season of concerts in Jackson Square at 7 p.m.

If it's raining at 5 p.m. or looks like rain is coming, the show will be moved to City Centre.

The Batavian is sponsoring tonight's show and I'll be there with freebies (photo prints, T-shirts and gift cards to local businesses) for anybody who signs up for a new membership in The Batavian Club.

Here's a list of shows this season:

It's My Party ('60s Hits) -- July 12
Ghost Riders (Country) -- July 19
OHMS Band (Rock) -- July 26
Bonnie & Collide (R & B) -- Aug. 2
Skiffle Minstrels (Swing & Zydeco...) --  Aug. 9
Kelly's Old Timers (Country) -- Aug. 16
C'est Bon All Girl Cajun Band (Cajun) -- Aug. 23
Mitty & The Followers (MoTown) -- Aug. 30

July 5, 2013 - 7:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, pembroke, Alabama.

David W. Maxwell, 62, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, failure to dim headlights, failure to keep right, refusal to take breath test and controlled substance not in original container. Deputy Kevin McCarthy spotted Maxwell's car at 10:09 p.m. Tuesday on Route 33 in Pembroke and Maxwell allegedly failed to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic. When McCarthy attempted a traffic stop on Maxwell's car, Maxwell allegedly refused to pull over. A short pursuit followed and Maxwell eventually pulled over on Route 33 in the Town of Batavia.

Donna Marie Kroft, 59, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kroft is accused of shoplifting at Kmart on Tuesday.

Dora Poodry, 19, of Basom, is charged with petit larceny. Poodry was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 9:18 p.m., Wednesday, at a location on Veterans Memorial Drive. No further details released.

July 4, 2013 - 10:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A sky lantern may look pretty, but firefighters warn they're potentially dangerous and also outlawed in New York.

Tonight, one floated over the City of Batavia Fire Hall that narrowly missed landing on the roof of Saint Mary's.

"Should this unattended fire in the sky have landed on the roof of the church or surrounding buildings it could have caused significant damage," said the department in a press release about the incident.

Firefighters retrieved the lantern and extinguished the still-burning fire.

"We ask that all residents discontinue the use of 'sky lanterns' so they and their neighbors can enjoy a safe 4th of July," the release said.

PDF: A safety alert about sky lanterns.

PHOTO: From the PDF, not the actual lantern from tonight's incident.

July 4, 2013 - 9:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GO ART!, picnic in the park.

Bob Zeagler was all decked out for the 4th -- as he usually is -- at GO ART's Picnic in the Park today in Centennial Park.

The picnic was once again a successful community event.

To purchase prints, click here.

July 4, 2013 - 5:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported, unknown injuries, in the City of Batavia on East Avenue between Columbia and Vine streets. A moving Pontiac was hit along with a utility pole, causing the transformer to explode at 19 East Ave. The roadway is not passable and three National Grid trucks are on location. City fire and Mercy medics are on scene.

UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: A responder says power is out in the vicinity of the accident, including UMMC, which is activating its back-up generator immediately. "They gonna get my house, too, or just the hospital?" asks a dispatcher. Response: "You'll have to wait, Dan." Then the dispatch guy sighs in resignation ''ghsss...OK."

UPDATE 8:32 p.m.: Press release from Batavia PD:

The Batavia Police are investigating a two-car property damage motor vehicle accident. An eastbound pickup truck drifted into the westbound lane and side swiped a westbound vehicle on East Avenue. The pickup truck then struck a utility pole at the intersection, breaking the pole in two. Power was knocked out to approximately 2,600 customers, but was quickly restored by National Grid crews who were working in the area. The operator of the truck indicated he took his eyes off the road when some items fell onto the floor of his moving vehicle. The operator was cited for failure to keep right. The roadway will remain closed while the pole is being replaced by National Grid.

July 4, 2013 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, muckdogs, sports.

Lightning, thunder, fireworks, and that was all before the final out at Dwyer Stadium on Wednesday night as the Batavia Muckdogs rolled over the Auburn Doubledays 12-2 to end the Fourth of July show.

It was a tight ball game until bottom of the 5th when the 'Dogs exploded for seven runs, putting together a string of singles and walks and capitalizing on a throwing error by Doubledays third baseman Cody Gunter.

Batavia entered the bottom of the 5th down 2-1, with the Muckdogs' sole run to that point coming on a long ball off the bat of first baseman Felix Munoz. The ball was just long enough and just fair enough down the right field line to put Batavia on the scoreboard.

After Batavia's scoring deluge in the 5th, the rains came in the 6th, forcing a 38-minute delay after the top of the 6th.

Many of the 1,800 fans in attendance on 4th of July fireworks night (which was actually on July 3) left the park during the downpour.

The work stoppage didn't slow the Muckdogs, however, as they added four runs in the bottom of the 6th, with three runs plated on a bases-clearing triple by Carlos Lopez.

The winning pitcher was Fairfax, Va., native Ryan Newell, who tossed six innings, giving up seven hits, two runs (one earned), striking out two and walking only one. Through three starts, Newell is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA.

Dane Stone (top photo), a second-year pro from Miami, dominated during two innings of relief work, holding Auburn scoreless on one hit while striking out four batters, including three of the four he faced in the eight. It was Stone's first appearance of the season.

Closing out the game in a non-save situation was Texan James Wooster who walked one but struck out two.

Munoz, a six-year pro from the Dominican Republic, had two hits, two walks, drove in three runs and scored three times. The home run was his first four-bagger of the season. He's hitting .313 on the season.

Lead-off hitter and starting shortstop Justin Bohn also had two hits. The Phoenix, Ore., native also had a walk, a run scored and a stolen base.

Left field Autstin Dean, from Spring, Texas, scored two runs on a walk and a single.

Avery Romero, from St. Augustine, Fla., and playing third base, reached on an error and a walk and scored twice.

The Muckdogs are now 7-7 on the season, a game and a half behind first place Jamestown in the standings.

Hitting leader so far is Romero with .353 average, giving him the fifth highest average in the NYPL at this point in the season. Munoz leads the team with 10 RBI.

Yefri Perez has seven stolen bases.

Batavia isn't home again until Monday, when the Muckdogs will complete a game-shortened game against Jamestown starting at 5:05 p.m. and then play a seven-inning match against the Jammers at 7:05 p.m.

Austin Dean

Justin Bohn lays down a perfect bunt for a base hit in the bottom of the fifth.

Part of the post-game fireworks show.

July 3, 2013 - 8:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Karen Lynn Jones, 49, of North Street, Oakfield, is cahrged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and speeding. Jones was stopped at 10:49 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Batavia, by Deputy Matthew Fleming.

Donna Marie Kroft, 59, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Kroft allegedly had contact with a protected party at a bank April 9. She allegedly confronted and spoke to the person. She was arrested Tuesday during an investigation into an unrelated larceny complaint.

July 2, 2013 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown.

Press release:

Why do you leave Genesee County to eat? That’s exactly what the Restaurant Creativity Advocates want to find out. In response to sales leakage reports provided by W-ZHA and The Community Land Use & Economics Group, a brief survey was developed for area residents to explain their dining and travel habits. The survey is available now through July 12th online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N6SCRMV.

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates is a local group formed by representatives of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee Community College’s The BEST Center, Batavia Development Corporation, downtown's Business Improvement District and Senior Corp of Retired Executives. This group voluntarily organized to research and improve the local dining options throughout the county.

“We gathered in response to two recent reports that suggest area residents spend more than $12.4 million annually to eat and drink at restaurants beyond our County borders,” stated Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation. “We want to understand why people leave the County to dine-out. Ultimately, we want to do what we can to try to ensure more dining dollars stay local.”

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates began discussion early February 2013. Since then, they conducted their own local restaurant assessment facilitated by Lina LaMattina, director of The BEST Center.

“We began by asking team members to finish the open-ended question, wouldn’t it be great if...,” LaMattina said. “Allowing this cross-functional team to begin to consider the possibilities open to the County helped the group to generate some big picture thinking, think creatively, and develop the foundation for some real conversation with stakeholders without giving way to the  traditional stumbling blocks typically encountered when dealing with significant challenges,” LaMattina added.

The group categorized more than 100 committee responses and found that six areas of focus could potentially improve the local restaurant scene. Upon completion of the customer survey, the group will share all results with the local restaurateurs in hopes of devising an action plan to reduce the sales leakage.

The restaurant customer survey is brief, but it does end with the same valuable question “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”

The Chamber of Commerce has mailed a separate restaurant owner survey directly to their listing of 126 existing restaurants in Genesee County. That survey will also be complete at the end of next week.

July 2, 2013 - 10:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, taxes, Genesee County Airport.

The way Bob Miller sees it, before long, if you want to learn to fly, you will need to go to Pennsylvania or Ohio because there will be no flight schools left in New York.

"The state is holding all the cards on this," Miller told members of the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

Within the past year, NYS Taxation and Finance has started auditing the owners of airplanes that are used as rentals for flight school students.

The state is demanding payment, Miller said, of taxes that were once exempt.

According to Miller, he can't legally charge students tax for their flight hours, but when private plane owners rent their planes to flight schools, the state is now demanding the owners pay sales tax on those fees.

As a result private plane owners who have been audited by the state will no longer rent their planes to flight schools.

More than two months ago, plane owners in Lancaster were audited and Miller was forced to close his school there. Now the state has gone after Batavia plane owners and he must shut down his aviation school here.

"It's not a new law," Miller said. "It's a new interpretation. The executive branch is holding all of the private airplane owners hostage to their interpretation of the code."

According to Miller, this hasn't been an issue in New York for 40 years, and certainly not during the 20 years he's been involved in aviation instruction.

"The state is so desperate for sales tax revenue they're going after everything," Miller said.

Currently, according to Miller, investors buy airplanes without sales tax if they are renting the planes to flight schools. If the planes are rented to private pilots who are not students, then the owners must pay sales tax; if the owners take the planes on a flight for their own private use, they must pay a portion of sales tax for the usage, but for 40 years, there's been no sales tax, he said, on student rentals through flight schools.

The state is requiring plane owners to pay for past unpaid sales taxes going up to five years back.

As a result, Miller said, the plane owners are just ceasing rental services to aviation schools in the state.

Miller has a lease for hangars and office space in the Genesee County Airport through 2015 and he's being asked to be let out of the lease because he's now out of business as a result of the state's actions.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens recommended the Legislature require Miller to pay rent for 90 days, giving the county time to find a new tenant.

Hens said he isn't worried about filling the hangars -- there's a waiting list for hangar space, but he isn't sure the office space in the terminal will be filled, especially since it will be hard to find another filght school under the current circumstances.

The county will lose about $2,400 a month $2,700 per year in revenue with the flight school closed, due to a decrease in aviation fuel sales.

July 2, 2013 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Old Courthouse, preservation.

It's time for the Old Courthouse in Batavia to get a new roof.

The current roof was installed in 1976. That restoration included replacing the copper around the edge of the roof and restoring the cupola, which had deteriorated to nothing but a frame.

Frank Ciaccia, facilities management for the county, said this afternoon that the copper should last 100 years, so it won't need to be replaced, but it's time for the cedar shingle roof to be replaced and the cupola needs some repairs.

The Ways and Means Committee approved a contract with SEI Design Group of Rochester to provide design services for the project.

Once plans are in place, a bid will go out for a contractor to complete the work.

The request for proposal for SEI is divided into two parts. There is a $15,790 cost for basic design work and $5,213 for hazardous materials design, if it turns out that phase of the project is required.

Ciacca told legislators he thought the two-part RFP was necessary to ensure the winner of the RFP would try to pull money from the hazardous materials design into the main design phase if it proved hazardous materials weren't necessary.

The current roof has been leaking but Terry Ross, supervisor of buildings and grounds, said the leaks have not caused any damage to the interior of the building.

July 2, 2013 - 8:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, music, entertainment, Ramble Music & Arts Fest.

It's Ramble time, so ramble on down to Jackson Square this Saturday for good music, good art, good friends and good food.

Batavia's premier music and art event opens at 11 a.m. with remarks by local author Bill Kauffman.

Here's the music schedule:

On the electric stage (in Jackson Square):

11:00 - 11:15    Opening Ceremonies
11:15 - 11:45    The Ghost Riders
11:50 - 12:20    Warren Skye and Friends
12:25 - 12:55    Bluesway
1:00 - 1:30    Dave Reynolds Band
1-35- 2:05    Get It Ensemble
2:10 - 2:40    Little Trolls
2:45 - 3:15    Verse
3:20 - 3:50    Rich Lullo Band
3:55 - 4:25    Pigeon Post Stringband
4:30 - 5:00    Sierra
5:00 - 5:15    Memorial Celebration
5:20 - 5:50    Buffalo Road Show    
5:55 – 6:25    Savage Cabbage
6:30 – 7:00    General Disarray
7:05 – 7:35    Russ Peters Group (RPG)
7:40 – 8:10    Double Image
8:15 – 8:45    Taken
8:50 – 9:20    Keaton

Acoustic stage (on Center Street, next to Adam Miller):

11:20 -11:50    Good Morning Helen
11:55 – 12:25    -1 (Minus One)
12:30 – 1:00    Rockabully’s
1:05 – 1:35    Uncle Rog
1:40 – 2:10    Not Far From The Tree
2:15 – 2:45    Sierra Unplugged
2:50 – 3:20    ADub and Timmy P
3:25 – 3:55    Michael Disanto
4:00 – 4:30    Dave Armatage
4.30 – 5:00    Kate Francis

5:25 – 5:55    Brent Persia
6:00 – 6:30    Old Hippies
6:35 – 7:05    Four Dead Trees
7:10 – 7:40    Shotgun and Gator
7:45 – 8:15    Crosstown
8:20 – 8:50    Apostle
8:55 – 9:25    Dave Hollenbeck & Friends

In the photo: Kauffman, Michael Murray, Bill Pitcher, Tim Pitcher, Bill McDonald, Kay McMahon, Tom Tescott and Kevin Moyles.

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button